Category: History

“Brats” (2024) directed by Andrew McCarthy / Z-View

Brats (2024) 

Director: Andrew McCarthy

Stars: Andrew McCarthy, Emilio Estevez, Ally Sheedy, Jon Cryer, Bret Easton Ellis, Lea Thompson, Timothy Hutton, Demi Moore, Howard Deutch and Rob Lowe.

Tagline: Everybody wanted to be in the Brat Pack. Except them.

The Plot…

In the 1980s a group of young actors and actresses were getting rich and famous.  They often appeared in movies as an ensemble. The were young, rich and in demand.  Things took a sideways turn when a writer for New York magazine wrote a profile about the group headlined Hollywood’s Brat Pack.

The label took hold even though it wasn’t clear which young actors were in the so-called pack.  For many painted with the Brat the impact was quick and negative.  Movies were cancelled.  Work became hard to get.  Who in Hollywood wanted to work with young brats who felt entitled and never paid their dues.

Now, 40 years later, Andrew McCarthy, one of the so-called Brat Pack decided to reach out to others tarnished by the label.

Thoughts (beware of spoilers)…

While I haven’t seen many of the movies that would fall into the Brat Pack resume, I was interested in this documentary.  The Brat Pack label went viral.  Everyone knew what it meant even if no one was sure who exactly was in the pack.

It was interesting to see many of the stars.  I was happy that those who participated in the documentary were in good places.

I was surprised how difficult it was for Andrew McCarthy to contact some of the people he reached out to.  Good on Andrew for being humble about it and for getting a laugh from the situation as the movie ended.

Demi Moore seemed to be at ease with how things have worked out for her.  I was happy to see that.

Of all the folks negatively impacted by the Brat Pack label, it seemed that Andrew McCarthy took it hardest.  It felt like doing this doc brought him some peace of mind.  I hope so.

Brats (2024)  rates 4 of 5 stars.

“Oppenheimer” (2023) written and directed by Christopher Nolan, starring Cilian Murphy, Emily Blunt, Robert Downey, Jr. and Florence Pugh / Z-View

Oppenheimer (2023)

Director: Christopher Nolan

Screenplay: Christopher Nolan based on AMERICAN PROMETHEUS by Kai Bird, Martin J. Sherman

Stars: Cillian Murphy, Emily Blunt, Matt Damon, Robert Downey Jr., Alden Ehrenreich, Scott Grimes, Jason Clarke, Kurt Koehler, Tony Goldwyn, John Gowans, James D’Arcy, Kenneth Branagh, Harry Groener, Gregory Jbara, Ted King, Steven Houska, Matthew Modine, Casey Affleck, James Remar, Gary Oldman and Josh Hartnett

Tagline: The World Forever Changes

The Plot…

As World War II rages, the United States and Germany are racing to create an atomic bomb.  J. Robert Oppenheimer is recruited by the US army to co-ordinate scientists chosen for the project.  After Germany surrenders, Oppenheimer and others question the use of the bomb on Japan.  After the war, Oppenheimer’s loyalty to the US is questioned and his reputation put at risk.

Thoughts (beware of spoilers)…

Oppenheimer was nominated for 13 Academy Awards and won seven…

  • nominee Best SoundWillie D. Burton, Richard King, Gary A. Rizzo, Kevin O’Connell
  • nominee Best Achievement in Makeup and HairstylingLuisa Abel
  • nominee Best Achievement in Production DesignRuth De Jong (production designer), Claire Kaufman (set decorator)
  • nominee Best Achievement in Costume DesignEllen Mirojnick
  • nominee Best Adapted ScreenplayChristopher Nolan
  • nominee Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting RoleEmily Blunt
  • winner Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures (Original Score)Ludwig Göransson
  • winner Best Achievement in Film Editing Jennifer Lame
  • winner Best Achievement in CinematographyHoyte Van Hoytema
  • winner Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting RoleRobert Downey Jr.
  • winner Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading RoleCillian Murphy
  • winner Best Achievement in Directing Christopher Nolan
  • winner Best Motion Picture of the YearEmma Thomas, Charles Roven, Christopher Nolan

Oppenheimer is a dramatization of J. Robert Oppenheimer’s life from 1926 to 1959.

Robert Downey, Jr. considers Oppenheimer to be his best film.

Many of the famous actors/actresses appearing in Oppenheimer took small roles and pay cuts to work with Sir Christopher Nolan.

Oppenheimer is an exceptional film from top to bottom.  The film and everyone who was nominated/won an award for it is deserving.  Because it’s not a movie that I will not often revisit, I’m giving it 4 of 5 stars.  Don’t let that fool you though, it is an excellent movie.

Oppenheimer (2023) rates 4 of 5 stars.

“The Patriot” (2000) directed by Roland Emmerich, starring Mel Gibson & Heath Ledger / Z-View

The Patriot (2000)

Director: Roland Emmerich

Screenplay: Robert Rodat

Stars: Mel Gibson, Heath Ledger Joely Richardson, Jason Isaacs, Chris Cooper, Tchéky Karyo, Rene Auberjonois, Tom Wilkinson, Donal Logue, Leon Rippy, Jay Arlen Jones, Joey D. Vieira and Trevor Morgan.

Tagline: Some things are worth fighting for.

The Plot…

Benjamin Martin (Gibson) is a veteran of the French and Indian War.  He was a hero and his exploits were legendary.  But that was years ago.  Benjamin is older and a widower with seven children.  As many colonists enlist in the Continental Army, Benjamin refuses.  He fears for his children if he were to be killed.

Despite his father’s wishes, Gabriel Martin (Ledger) enlists.  Gabriel becomes a dispatcher for the Continental Army.  When a battle spills over onto the Martin farm, Benjamin Martin tends to wounded soldiers of both armies.  Gabriel is one of them.

Colonel William Tavington (Isaacs) and his British Dragoons arrive.  Tavington thanks Benajamin Martin for tending to the British soldiers.  He orders all of the wounded rebel soldiers to be killed.  Tavington then orders Benjamin Martin’s house burned and his son, Gabriel to be hung as a spy.  Benjamin pleads for his son’s life, arguing that Gabriel was wearing a uniform and carrying dispatches in an official bag.  Rules of War specify that properly uniformed dispatchers are not spies.  Tavington doesn’t care.  When Gabriel’s younger brother attempts to free Gabe, Tavington shoots and kills the child.

As Tavington, his Dragoons ride off, a separate contingent of British soldiers take Gabriel to be hung.  Benjamin races into his burning house and from a chest grabs weapons he used in the French and Indian War.  Benjamin Martin hoped to keep his family safe. But his young son has been killed and the war brought to him…

Thoughts (beware of spoilers)…

The Patriot was nominated for three Academy Awards…

  • nominee Best Cinematography – Caleb Deschanel
  • nominee Best Music, Original Score – John Williams
  • nominee Best Sound – Kevin O’Connell, Greg P. Russell, Lee Orloff

For the first time ever, the the Smithsonian Institution worked with producers to ensure the accuracy of the films costumes and settings.

Benjamin Martin is based on two real people: Francis Marion, a.k.a. The Swamp Fox and militia leader General Andrew Pickens who lost a son and had his estate burned before he returned to war.

The Patriot (2000) rates 5 of 5 stars.

“Chisum” (1970) starring John Wayne / Z-View

Chisum (1970)

Director: Andrew V. McLaglen

Screenplay: Andrew J. Fenady, based on the short story Chisum and the Lincoln County War by Andrew J. Fenady

Stars: John Wayne, Forrest Tucker, Christopher George, Ben Johnson, Glenn Corbett, Bruce Cabot, Patric Knowles, Richard Jaeckel, Geoffrey Deuel, Pamela McMyler, John Agar, Robert Donner, Ray Teal, Edward Faulkner, Ron Soble, William Conrad (voice), Lee Meriwether and Lynda Day (George).

Tagline: THE LEGEND – John Wayne is “Chisum”

The Plot…

John Chisum (Wayne) and Lawrence Murphy (Tucker) are the biggest land owners in Lincoln County, New Mexico.  Murphy has been buying up land and businesses by exerting behind-the-scenes pressure.  Murphy goes too far when he pays off the sheriff and hires outlaws to rustle cattle.

Chisum, aided by his trail boss Pepper, along with Billy the Kid and Pat Garrett take a stand against Murphy and his gang.

Thoughts (beware of spoilers)…

John Wayne was 44 years into his career when he made Chisum. Wayne was the #2 Money-Making Box Office Star for 1970.  Paul Newman was #1.

Christopher George and Lynda Day had met before, but during filming of Chisum they fell in love and were later married.

The ranch house John Chisum lives in will be reused the following year for Wayne’s ranch house in Big Jake.

This was Geoffrey Deuel’s feature film debut.  Geoffrey is Pete Duel’s younger brother.  They look enough alike to be twins.  Pete changed his last name for professional reasons.  Pete would become famous for his role on Alias Smith and Jones.  Sadly Pete Jones died from a self-inflicted gunshot on December 31, 1971.

Lee Meriwether’s only appearance in the film is in a photograph in Chisum’s pocket watch.

John Wayne was reportedly disappointed that his stuntman was so obvious in the big fight scene with Forrest Tucker.  Tucker’s stunt man was Jim Burk who performed stunts on over 50 movies including Tango & Cash, Conan the Barbarian and Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.

Chisum is based on the Lincoln County War of 1878.  Although fictionalized, several of the characters in the film were based on real people and events.

Chisum (1970) rates 3 of 5 stars.

“The Last Kingdom: Seven Kings Must Die” (2023) / Z-View

The Last Kingdom: Seven Kings Must Die (2023)

Director: Edward Bazalgette

Screenplay: Martha Hillier based on THE SAXON STORIES by Bernard Cornwell

Stars: Alexander Dreymon, Harry Gilby, Mark Rowley.

Tagline: None.

The Plot…

When Edward, King of the Anglo-Saxons, dies without designating an heir to the throne, it sets off a chain reaction of lessor kings battling to become the one true king.  Expect brother versus brother, double-crosses and deceit.

Thoughts (beware of spoilers)…

The Last Kingdom: Seven Kings Must Die (2023) is a spin-off of the The Last Kingdom series which ran for five seasons.  You don’t have to watch the series to enjoy the movie, but it probably would enhance the film if you did. (I had not seen the series prior to watching the film.)

The Last Kingdom: Seven Kings Must Die (2023) rates 3 of 5 stars.

“The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst” – Season 1 (2015) / Z-View

The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst – Season 1 (2015)

Created by: Andrew Jarecki, Marc Smerling, Zac Stuart-Pontier

Director: Andrew Jarecki (Eps. 1-6)

Written By: Andrew Jarecki, Marc Smerling and Zac Stuart-Pontier (Eps. 1-6)

Tagline: The confession was just the beginning.

The Plot…

Andrew Jarecki directed All Good Things, a film inspired by Robert Durst’s life.  All Good Things is the fictional tale of David Marks, a real estate tycoon suspected of killing his wife Katie, who disappeared in 1982.  Robert Durst is an heir to the Durst family fortune made in real estate.  Robert Durst’s wife, Kathie disappeared in 1982.

After seeing All Good Things, Robert Durst reached out to Andrew Jarecki and proposed a series of interviews so that Durst could tell his side of the story.  In addition to being suspected of killing his wife Kathie, Durst had also admitted to killing and dismembering Morris Black and was also suspected of killing his friend Susan Berman.  Robert Durst gave Jarecki almost unlimited access to personal family photos/videos, court transcripts and depositions.  Jarecki performed extensive research prior to the interviews and uncovered previously unseen evidence.

Durst did the interviews to give his side of the story and to clear his name.  Little did Durst know that decision would lead to his arrest for murder.  Admitting his guilt on a hot mic didn’t help his side of the story.

Thoughts (beware of spoilers)…

The Jinx was nominated for six 2015 Primetime Emmys and won two: Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Series and Outstanding Picture Editing for Nonfiction Programming.

Robert Durst’s story is stranger than fiction.  A multi-millionaire who many think got away with killing his first wife goes on the run because he thinks the police are going to arrest him.  He leaves New York and travels to Galveston, Texas.  He disguises himself as a mute woman.  While in Galveston he kills and dismembers a man.  The body parts are found floating in plastic bags.  They have Durst’s fingerprints, a receipt where he paid for the bags and saws.  He is caught with the saw used to dismember the man.  Durst admits to the killing.

And his defense attorney gets him off!  I won’t spoil the way it is done.

Now Durst has gotten away with murder (potentially murders).  You’d think he’d take his multi-millions and lay low for the rest of his life.  Nope.  He becomes the main suspect in the killing of Susan Berman.  Durst’s brother hires bodyguards and takes out a restraining order — he fears he could be next.

What does Durst do?  He agrees to a series of interviews in which he inadvertently admits his guilt.  This leads to his arrest for murder.

Kudos to Andrew Jarecki, Marc Smerling and Zac Stuart-Pontier.  Their research a dedication to finding the truth made for compelling television.  The Jinx deserves every accolade it has received.  I look forward to season two.

The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst – Season 1 (2015) rates 5 of 5 stars.

“Reinventing Elvis: The ’68 Comeback” (2023) / Z-View

Reinventing Elvis: The ’68 Comeback (2023)

Director: John Scheinfeld

Screenplay: John Scheinfeld

Stars: Elvis Presley, Leslie Uggams, The Beatles, Harry Belafonte, Petula Clark, Darius Rucker.

Tagline: None.

The Plot…

In the mid 1950s, Elvis Presley burst on the scene.  He was an instant star and no one was bigger. Elvis was seen as a rebel by many and dangerous by some.  By the mid 1960s, Elvis’ star had faded.  His music wasn’t hip and a string of bad movies had Elvis doubting himself.  Then Elvis was signed for a television special.  Steve Binder was set to direct.  Binder had ideas for the production, but they were vetoed by Elvis’ manager, Colonel Parker.  Elvis faced a tough decision.  Follow his manager’s directives or give the new guy a chance.

Elvis knew his career depended on the success of the special…

Thoughts (beware of spoilers)…

Reinventing Elvis: The ’68 Comeback takes us behind the scenes with footage and stories from those who were there.

It’s interesting to note that the parts of the special that were best received were those that Colonel Parker tried to veto.  I had a pretty poor opinion of Parker before this documentary and after viewing it, my opinion dropped even further.

I was ten years old when the special aired.  I can remember adults talking about how “cool” Elvis was in it.  Yeah, Elvis was back, baby.

Reinventing Elvis: The ’68 Comeback (2023) rates 4 of 5 stars.

“Shōgun” (2024) starring Cosmo Jarvis, Anna Sawai, Tadanobu Asano & Hiroyuki Sanada / Z-View

Shōgun (2024)

Created by Rachel Kondo, Justin Marks, based on Shōgun by James Clavel

Director: Jonathan van Tulleken (Eps.1-2); Charlotte Brändström (Ep. 3); Frederick E.O. Toye (Eps. 4-5, 9-10); Hiromi Kamata (Ep. 6); Takeshi Fukunaga (Ep. 7); Emmanuel Osei-Kuffour (Ep. 8)

Teleplay: Rachel Kondo & Justin Marks (Eps. 1-2); Shannon Goss (Eps. 3, 8); Nigel Williams & Emily Yoshida (Ep. 4); Matt Lambert (Eps. 5, 7); Maegan Houang (Ep. 6); Rachel Kondo & Caillin Puente (Ep. 9); Maegan Houang & Emily Yoshida (Ep. 10)

Stars: Cosmo Jarvis, Anna Sawai, Tadanobu Asano, Yûki Kedôin, Akiko Kobayashi, Hiroyuki Sanada, Takehiro Hira

Tagline: None.

The Plot…

17th century.  John Blackthorne (Jarvis), one of the few surviving sailors shipwrecked in Japan, finds himself a pawn in a power struggle between factions.  Literally a stranger in a strange land, Blackthorne is viewed as a savage.  Yet, using his cunning and skills he will rise to a position of respect, not realizing the depth of deception and long-range plans being formed around him.

Thoughts (beware of spoilers)…

This miniseries is based on James Clavell’s novel of the same name.  Clavell based many of the characters in his book on real historical figures.  James Clavell’s daughter (Michaela Clavell) served as an executive producer of the series.

Shōgun is amazing from top to bottom.  Great writing, acting, directing and production values make this series a joy to watch.

Shōgun currently has an 8.8/10 rating on IMDb.  At Rotten Tomatoes, it has a 99% rating with reviewers and a 90% average audience score.

Shōgun (2024) rates 5 of 5 stars.

“Black Mass” (2015) starring Johnny Depp / Z-View

Black Mass (2015)

Director:  Scott Cooper

Screenplay: Mark Mallouk, Jez Butterworth based on BLACK MASS: WHITEY BULGER, THE FBI AND A DEVIL’S DEAL by Dick Lehr and Gerard O’Neil

Stars: Johnny Depp, Benedict Cumberbatch, Dakota Johnson, Joel Edgerton, Kevin Bacon, Jesse Plemons, Rory Cochrane, David Harbour, Adam Scott, Corey Stoll, Julianne Nicholson, W. Earl Brown, Bill Camp, Mark Mahoney, Brad Carter, Scott Anderson, James Russo and Juno Temple.

Tagline: Based on the true story of one of the most notorious gangsters in U.S. history

The Plot…

When FBI agent John Connolly (Edgerton) is assigned to the Boston area where he was raised, he gets an outrageous idea.  Growing up, Connolly was friends with James “Whitey” Bulger (Depp).  Bulger now controls one of the major crime gangs in Boston.  Connolly wants to make Bulger a FBI informant.

Reluctant at first, Bulger agrees when he realizes he can use the FBI connection to his advantage.  Protected by his “FBI informant” status, Bulger uses the information he gets from Connolly to take out rival gangs.  Bulger becomes even more powerful.  Realizing he’s been used Connolly has no recourse but to protect Bulger.  Bulger’s hunger for power continues to drive him to commit worse crimes.  Soon Connolly will be unable to protect Bulger, and even more importantly himself.

Thoughts (beware of spoilers)…

As outrageous as it sounds, Black Mass is based on real-life criminal James “Whitey” Bulger.  Bulger’s brother was a US senator.  Whitey was at one time #1 on the FBI’s Most Wanted List!  Bulger was, as the film shows pre-end credits, captured and sent to prison.  While in prison, he was repeatedly stabbed and beaten to death by prisoners.

Johnny Depp is unrecognizable as Whitey Bulger. Depp has said that this role is his favorite performance of all the roles he’s played.  For his part Depp was nominated for a Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role.

Depp is supported by an outstanding cast.  Special mention to Joel Edgerton, Jesse Plemons and Juno Temple for their performances.

Black Mass (2015) rates 5 of 5 stars.

“American Conspiracy: The Octopus Murders” (2024) / Z-View

American Conspiracy: The Octopus Murders (2024)

Director:  Zachary Treitz

Stars: Christian Hansen

Tagline: None.

The Plot…

Danny Casolaro was a freelance writer obsessed with a story that he had worked on for years.  Casolaro believed he’d uncovered evidence of a powerful international cabal of eight individuals involved in everything from government spyware, manipulating Iran to hold hostages to ensure Ronald Reagan became President, the Iran-Contra scandal and more.  Casolaro referred to this cabal as The Octopus.

In 1991, Casolaro was found in the bathtub of a hotel room.  His wrists had been cut multiple times and blood covered the bathroom walls and floor.  One of the first paramedics on scene didn’t believe it to be a suicide because Casolaro’s tendons were cut in the multiple slices across his wrists and the blood everywhere.  Still, his death was ruled a suicide.

Christian Hansen gained access to all of Casolaro’s journals, notes and interviews. Hansen then re-interviewed people Casolaro had identified as having knowledge of the cabal.  This documentary explores the results of Hansen’s investigation.

Thoughts (beware of spoilers)…

While we’re given much information, there is no “aha moment” where we get a definitive answer.  Casolaro did uncover several shady characters and dealings.  But was there enough evidence to make the leap to an international cabal?

One of the people providing evidence said she was shown a film of President Kennedy’s assassination where the driver of his limo turned and shot him.  She believes the film she saw was unedited and the word has only seen a cover-up version.

When Casolaro died he was deep in debt and his house was about to be lost in foreclosure.  Was this enough to push him over the edge to commit suicide?  But how could he cut himself so many times (and still hold the blade) if his tendons were severed?

After viewing American Conspiracy, I was left with more questions than answers.  It was an interesting ride, if you value the ride more than the destination.

American Conspiracy: The Octopus Murders (2024) rates 3 of 5 stars.

“Einstein and the Bomb” (2024) / Z-View

Einstein and the Bomb (2024)

Director:  Anthony Philipson

Stars: Aidan McArdle

Tagline: None.

The Plot…

Einstein and the Bomb is a docudrama that uses Einstein’s actual words (from his writings and speeches) to explore his life from leaving Germany as Hitler came into power to later in life and his concerns over the atomic bomb.

Thoughts (beware of spoilers)…

Einstein and the Bomb isn’t a straight up documentary and it isn’t a drama.  It’s an odd combination.  There were many opportunities had the filmmakers focused on Einstein’s new theories and how he came to discover them, or Einstein’s decision to flee Germany under Nazi power or his life after he became a celebrity.  The decision to emphasize his concerns with atomic weapons doesn’t come into play until late in the film and for me, wasn’t strong enough to warrant the movie’s title.

Still, it was interesting to hear Einstein’s words and his thoughts.

Einstein and the Bomb (2024) rates 3 of 5 stars.

“Wil” (2023) / Z-View

Wil (2023)

Director:  Tim Mielants

Screenplay:  Carl Joos, Tim Mielants, Jeroen Olyslaegers

Stars: Stef Aerts, Annelore Crollet

Tagline: None.

The Plot…

1942.  World War rages.  Nazis occupy Belgium.  With two weeks training, Wilfried Wils (Aerts) and other young police officers in Antwerp are the buffer between Nazi occupation and citizens. Personal survival will test their morals and their willingness to follow Nazi orders in order to survive.

Thoughts (beware of spoilers)…

Wil is an excellent drama that explores the lines that some are willing, or not to cross.

Wil (2023) rates 4 of 5 stars.

“Wrestled Away: The Lee Kemp Story” (2019) / Z-View

Wrestled Away: The Lee Kemp Story (2019)

Director:  Riley Hanlon

Stars: Lee Kemp, William Baldwin (voice), Henry Cejudo, Daniel Cormier, Urijah Faber and Dan Gable.

Tagline: A World Champion Wrestler on the podium of life with one mission despite devastating setbacks; keep WINNING GOLD.

The Plot…

Lee Kemp was arguably the greatest amateur wrestler ever.  He was was a four-time NCAA Division I National finalist.  He was a National Champion his sophomore, junior and senior years.  His freshman year (freshman!) he came in 2nd thanks to a split decision.  He lost just three times during his entire collegiate wrestling career (and all of those losses came his freshman year).

Kemp was America’s first three time World Champion.  He was also America’s youngest World Champion at that time. Kemp was also a four-time World Cup Champion and a 7-time United States Freestyle National Champion.  Olympic Gold Medalist came out of retirement to wrestle Lee Kemp and Kemp won.  Going into the 1980 Olympics, Lee Kemp was favored to win a Gold Medal.

Then Russia invaded Afghanistan.  President Carter decreed that the U.S. would not participate in the Olympics in protest since they were to be held in Moscow.  Kemp’s dream of Olympic Gold was crushed.  Everything he had worked for was taken away with that decision.

Then life got worse.  This is Lee Kemp’s story.  One of a rise to the top and then a hard fall.  But like every true champion, Lee Kemp found a way back.

Thoughts (beware of spoilers)…

When I was in high school the two main amateur wrestlers known to the world were Dan Gable, the 1972 Olympic Gold Medalist and Lee Kemp.  Gable lost just once in his college career.  He was a legend.  Then along came Lee Kemp.  I knew that Gable had gone on to become a great college wrestling coach.  I never knew what became of Lee Kemp.  I’m glad Wrestled Away… The Lee Kemp Story tells us.

On a side note, when I was in tenth grade, I attended a Dan Gable wrestling camp.  Gable was impressive.  The highlight for me was when he picked me out of dozens in attendance to come on the mat with him for the demonstration.

Wrestled Away: The Lee Kemp Story (2019) rates 5 of 5 stars.

“Coded” (2021) / Z-View

Coded (2021)

Director:  Ryan White

Tagline: Look Between the Lines.

The Plot…

J.C. Leyendecker was arguably the most popular artist of his time.  He worked professionally the mid-1890s until his death in 1951.  Leyendecker is most famous for his run of Saturday Evening Post covers that covered a 44 year span.  He also was known for his Arrow Shirts commercial art.

J.C. Leyendecker was gay and although closeted (due to prejudice of the time), some aspects of his lifestyle came through subliminally in his art.  Coded explores Leyendecker’s career and subliminal messages in commercial art then and now.

Thoughts (beware of spoilers)…

Although I’m a fan of J.C. Leyendecker’s art, I didn’t know much about his life or career.  It was interesting that Leyendecker mentored Norman Rockwell who went on to be the next “Leyendecker”.

Coded gets my highest recommendation.

Coded (2021) rates 5 of 5 stars.